Import/Export: BDB Goes International, Helping Local Access Foreign Markets and Italian Company Establish North American Headquarters

When your motto proclaims that “A stronger economy is everyone’s business,” you must walk the talk and go the distance—as well as find smart ways to shorten it.

We got to help do both in what was an especially impactful September for the Business Development Board of Martin County.

We recently hosted the Export University Conference for its inaugural debut on the Treasure Coast. Teaming with U.S. Commercial Service, South Florida District Export Council and Flywire, we brought together an array of local, state, and federal experts to guide Martin County manufacturers and small businesses in the essentials of accessing foreign markets.

On another initiative, we helped welcome an Italian company to Jensen Beach, Martin County as a new home for its growing North American headquarters.

Recognized as one of the Top 10 paint “tech solution providers in Europe 2021,” IM GROUP is an international conglomerate that operates in 15 countries and on five continents. It works with Fortune 500 companies on “total process-engineering solutions” within the industries of paint, coatings, adhesives and more.

Starting with its assembly operation, IM GROUP plans to later bring manufacturing operations to our community. We’re excited about the career prospects this future expansion should create. But we also keep an eye trained to the present.

During our ongoing Pulse visits with local businesses as well as at our annual Martin County Business Awards, we’re reminded of the ingenuity and innovation that animates our manufacturing community. We helped organize the Export University Conference to assist them and other businesses in accessing markets beyond our national border. Thanks to the generosity of sponsors, we were able to provide complimentary tickets to all attendees.

Some highlights of the marquis lineup of speakers included:

Eduardo Torres, director of the U.S. Department of Commerce. He provided sage insights on the importance of creating a thorough export strategy and marketing plan that anticipates the challenging realities of entering a wider pool of competitors.

Pete Quinter, an attorney with Gunster law firm specializing in international law, gave broad insights on U.S. regulations governing exports.

Emily McHugh, an international trade consultant for the Florida Small Business Development Center at the Indian River State College Entrepreneurship Development Institute, advised small-business owners on growing their companies to effectively serve larger markets.

And our own Ed Ciampi, chair of the Martin County Commission, shared more about his other job as vice president of sales and international development for the Palm City-based manufacturer, Chicago Stainless Equipment. He gave some useful tips on establishing an overseas infrastructure to build upon and solidify initial relationships that flourish well after the first sale. He also described how to manage the channels of distribution to ensure expected deliveries go through on time.

Such knowledge properly applied can help grow the bottom lines of our local businesses—especially when combined with the addition of new employers. With strategic partnerships, accurate information and the right opportunities, no distance—not even one as wide as an ocean—is too far to bridge in bringing back the benefits from exporting to our economy.

This article can also be found in the , October 1, 2023 Friends and Neighbors of Martin County Newsletter.

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